Sunday, September 8, 2013

I thought we should hit Assad hard, but Pope Francis has changed my mind

Francis made a powerful appeal for peace last Sunday (AP)
Francis made a powerful appeal for peace last Sunday (AP)
At first, the Pope’s appeals for peace exasperated me. Surely we had passed the point of no return
By on Friday, 6 September 2013
After watching the annihilation of ordinary people in Ghouta by poison gas, I was firmly in favour of military intervention in Syria. It has passed the point of no return, I thought. We have twiddled our thumbs for two years while Assad has continued to slay his citizens.

The civil war has caused the deaths of some 100,000 people. Of the millions of Syrian refugees, at least a million are children – and how many of them are orphans? Anything other than armed intervention struck me as passive support for Assad’s despotic rule.

But my thoughts on “the necessary military response” were interrupted by the Pope’s own intervention. Instead of calling for missiles to bring Assad to account, the Pope called on Mary, Queen of Peace, and asked for a day of prayer and fasting this coming Saturday, September 7. Instead of calling for arms to be sent to the rebels, the Pope has decried the pain caused by “the use of arms”. His most impassioned directive to international leaders was for, “encounter, dialogue and negotiation”.

At first, I was exasperated by the Pope’s words. Peace? It seemed so idealistic. The Pope’s claim that “war begets war” did not convince me. In the absence of aggressive military tactics, how would Assad be halted? I decided to learn more, with the aim of proving the Pope wrong. But in actual fact, I was the one proved wrong.

Read how O'Regan was proven wrong by Pope Francis' words at:

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